“Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history.” —Time Magazine
Often when we think of slavery, we think of the past. Ancient Egypt, a mighty civilization that built wondrous structures like the pyramids using the backs of slaves might spring to mind. Perhaps the closer history of slavery here in the U.S., people being shipped in from Africa to be sold in the New World is where your mind goes.
But slavery has long been abolished in the U.S., right? And we certainly don’t live in ancient Egypt. Surely, slavery is an issue of the past or if still today, just in other undeveloped countries. Wrong.
Human trafficking is happening world wide. Much of it targets women and children, forcing them into sex slavery and forced labor. But human trafficking strikes men as well and it is not something just happening in countries far away from us.
The CIA estimates 15,000 to 17,500 men, women, and children are trafficked into the U.S. annually.
“I think the awful irony,” Universal Cargo Management President, Shirley Burke said, “is that we are referred to as ‘The Land of the Free’ and there is slavery happening in our very own neighborhoods.”
But there are organizations fighting human trafficking. One of them being the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking or CAST.
Shirley was on hand at the recent CAST Gala Event (see photos here), which was well attended by over 300 people joined together by a common passion to see human trafficking and slavery abolished.
It was a night to raise awareness about human trafficking, a night to raise money to fight human trafficking, and a night to honor those who have shown extraordinary leadership in protecting and empowering survivors of modern day slavery.
“I was especially impressed with the story of how a young filipina woman was ‘rescued’ by a special branch of the FBI and then helped by CAST to begin her new life of freedom,” Shirley said of the night.
The fight to give more enslaved people stories of freedom and end human trafficking needs your help. You can get involved and make a difference. To see ways you can help, visit CAST’s What You Can Do webpages.